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Ingmar Bergman (1918- ). Career Background Theater Cinema Career Phases Central themes through major films. Ingmar Bergman in 2005. Family Background. Born in cultural town, Uppsala Father Henrik Bergman, Lutheran pastor Hedvig Eleonora Church, Stockholm “Oscarian Sweden”

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ingmar bergman 1918
Ingmar Bergman (1918- )
  • Career
    • Background
    • Theater
    • Cinema
  • Career Phases
  • Central themes

through major films

Ingmar Bergman in 2005

family background
Family Background
  • Born in cultural town, Uppsala
  • Father Henrik Bergman, Lutheran pastor
  • Hedvig Eleonora Church, Stockholm
  • “Oscarian Sweden”
    • Hierarchicies of authority
    • Moral rigidity
    • Subjective regulation
  • Transition from Lutheran, conservative Sweden to secular, modern welfare state
  • Often described as “autobiographical director”

Hedvig Eleonora Church, Stockholm

Anna and Henrik Bergman in The Best Intentions (Den goda viljan, 1994)

theater
Theater
  • First work as director at amateur theater in 1938
    • Regular direction of theater (2-3 plays a year) through 1995
    • Director of theaters in Helsingborg, Malmö, Gothenburg, Stockholm
  • Bergman’s “Troupe”
  • Pervasive influence of August Strindberg (1849-1912)
  • “Theater is my wife, cinema my mistress”

August Strindberg (1850-1912)

cinema
Cinema
  • Script department at Svensk filmindustri 1943
  • Sjöström and Stiller influence as ”artistic masters” at Svensk filmindustri
  • Directorial debut 1946 Crisis (Kris)
  • Career Production
    • 91 Titles
    • Averaged 2 films annually
    • 48 international prizes
    • 9 Oscars

Bergman often speaks of his childhood fascination with filmstrips and shadow plays– a theme that turns up in many of his films

career phases
Career Phases
  • Bergman as auteur
  • Optimistic Challenges of 1950s
    • Seventh Seal (1957)
    • Wild Strawberries (1957)
    • Subjective questioning
      • Metaphysical grounding
      • Love relationships
      • Uncertainty and negativity
    • Affirmation of vital experience through choice
    • The Virgin Spring (1960)
  • Pessimistic Challenges 1960s-70s
    • Persona (1966)
    • Subjective questioning
    • Failed affirmations
      • Humiliation and suffering
      • Tortuous relationships
      • Obscured vision
  • Affirmative Reassessment
    • Fanny and Alexander (1982)
    • Hopeful tone
    • Art and dream as replenishment in the face of indifferent, cruel world

Three generations on the set of Wild Strawberries, Ingmar Bergman, Bibi Andersson, Viktor Sjöströ, Sven Nykvist (l-r)

the seventh seal det sjunde inseglet 1957
The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet, 1957)
  • Antonius Block returns from the Crusades with squire Jöns
  • Journey theme
  • Opposed doubles
    • God/Death
    • Material/Spiritual
    • Youth/Old age
    • Light/Darkness
    • Male/female
  • How can one do good, in a world of incomprehensible death and destruction?
    • Godless world
    • Annihilating death
    • Possibility of material affirmation
  • Cannes Jury Prize 1957

The face of death, Bengt Ekeröt

Dance of Death

wild strawberries smultronst llet 1957
Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället, 1957)
  • Victor Sjöström as Isak Borg
  • Strinbergian influence
    • Inferno crisis
    • Significance of dream
  • Resonance of emotional experience
    • Doubles
    • Identification
    • Ambivalence
  • Shame and reconciliation
    • Private
    • Public

Ingrid Thulin and Victor Sjöström in Wild Strawberries

the virgin spring 1960
The Virgin Spring (1960)
  • Medieval ballad as source
  • Shot in Dalarna, summer 1959
  • Religious conflict
    • Strict, medieval Christianity
    • Practical paganism
  • Formal resolution
    • Spare mise en scène
    • Gistorical setting
    • Kurosawa’s influence
  • Themes
    • Nature
    • Silence
    • Ethical responsibility
    • Moral duty
  • Narrative vs. Analysis

Töre (Max von Sydow) and Karin (Birgitta Pettersson

Märeta (Birgitta Valberg) and Töre

persona 1966
Persona (1966)

Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullman

  • An actress goes dumb and goes to an island to be cared for by a nurse
  • From reality of relations to reality of representation
  • Representation and emotion
    • Persona = mask
    • Alma = inner soul
  • Ambivalent relationship between ”appearance” and ”reality”
    • Aggression
    • Abandonment
  • Art and self-reflexivity
    • Is art an exercise in Vampirism?
    • Does art make visible to us beauty we cannot otherwise see?
fanny and alexander 1982
Fanny and Alexander (1982)

Alexander’s theatre

  • Announced as last film of career
    • Thematic summary
    • Final Statement
    • 5-hr. Swedish Television Premiere Christmas Day, 1982
  • Announced as last film of career
  • The Little World of The Theater
    • Ekdahl family
    • Affirmation of “flawed performance”
  • The Cold World of Institutionalized Religion
    • Bishop Vergelius
    • Rescue by Isak
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Sources
    • Childhood
    • Theater
    • Philosophical questioning
  • Career
    • Prolific
    • Four phases
      • Early entry into theater and film
      • Secular optimism
      • Secular pessimism
      • Qualified affirmation of art
  • “Scandinavian Cinema”
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